Kansas State Wildcats
Recommendation: Under 8 wins (-165 @ Greek)
2011 was a terrific season for the Wildcats who continued to overachieve under head coach Bill Snyder. I know it’s like standing on a cliff, lifting one knee to your nose and trying to balance yourself without falling but I’m going to fade KSU here. Underestimating this team is hazardous to the bankroll but I just can’t see this 2012 season producing eight regular season victories. The personnel is there on paper to again be productive offensively, defensively and on special teams but there are multiple areas where last year’s results may not be duplicated.
First and easily the most important is the 317 carries recorded by quarterback Collin Klein. It’s almost impossible to see him surviving the 12-game season if he has to tote the ball that often again. Honestly, it’s hard to see him starting and playing all 12 games if he reduces that number to 250. Klein has the ultimate bullseye on his chest and opposing defenses are going to focus on hitting him repeatedly. Should he get hurt, there’s a pair of freshman behind him with zero college snaps combined.
Second would be the offensive line. Despite the mobility of Klein they finished last in Big XII play allowing 29 sacks and were the only unit beside anemic Kansas and Texas Tech to rush for less than 4.0 yards per carry. Three new starters step in across the offensive front including both tackles making this an area of concern.
Third is their pass rush and pass defense. Last year in league play, Kansas State finished 10th out of 10 teams in passing yards per game allowed (304), 9th in completion percentage allowed (65.4%) and 8th in sacks with only 13. Missouri and Texas A&M had explosive, wide open passing teams and K-State had good games against them yielding just 214 and 210 passing yards respectively. However their WR groups were average overall in terms of speed which helped the Wildcats match up effectively. 2012 newcomers West Virginia and TCU possess passing arsenals with extreme speed and home run threats which will severely challenge Kansas State. Those wins over Mizzou and A&M are more than likely to be replaced by losses at TCU and West Virginia which will create a significant difference in the Kansas State win total this year.
In all, everything would have to fall into place picture perfectly once again in Manhattan for KSU to enjoy the same winning success they had last season. There is just too much room for a correction to take place this time around and I expect their lesser talent and statistical numbers to show up more in their win-loss record. I see them as more of a 7-5 bowl team rather than a 9-3 one.
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For more Kansas State and Big XII analysis from Rob Veno, check out his Sportsmemo Podcast segment from earlier this week. Click here to listen.